From Bill Wright
Knoxville, IA — (August 12, 2011) — It was another great night of racing at the Knoxville Raceway as the Friday night of the 51st Annual Goodyear Knoxville Nationals produced three different winners. Kevin Swindell won the Friday night A main, claiming his third victory of the year at Knoxville. Tim Shaffer topped a wild 25-lap inaugural “Race of Champions”, and Lucas Wolfe claimed the Premiere Chevy Dealers World Challenge to claim his first career Knoxville victory. However, it may have been Shane Stewart who stole the show in a pair of main events with charges from the rear.
Two semi-features won by Kenny Jacobs and Swindell set up the Friday night main event featuring drivers not in the top 50 in points heading into Saturday night’s championship event. Jacobs beat Swindell to the punch on the start from his pole position and led the first four laps.
Swindell recovered and was steady on the bottom in the non-stop 20-lap main event. He took the point on lap five. Lucas Wolfe, who started 11th and finished third in his non-qualifier, shot into third at the halfway point, moving by Chad Kemenah.
While Swindell cruised out front, Wolfe continued his move forward, and overtook Jacobs on lap 19. Behind Swindell, Wolfe and Jacobs at the finish, were Jac Haudenschild and Kemenah. Jonathan Allard, Brian Ellenberger, Roger Crockett, Danny Heskin and Scott Winters rounded out the top ten, and claimed starting spots in Saturday night’s C main. Swindell’s win paid $5,000.
“It’s frustrating to be in this race,” said Swindell of his qualifying night struggles. “But it’s also nice to get a win here. We have a heck of a car, and I wish we were further up. I think my dad won this race a couple of years ago and said he was going to run the hell out of it until they told him not to come back. I think we’ll do the same.”
A “Reverse Draw” occurred before the “Race of Champions”. Competitors drew a number and gave it to a competitor. The result saw many of the top contenders sent to the back of the 21-car field. One big exception was Aliquippa, Pennsylvania’s Tim Shaffer, who received the pole position pill from a young driver he often helps, Danny Holtgraver, from nearby Pittsburgh.
The event got off to a messy start when Kerry Madsen took a hard ride in turns one and two that ended his night. He was uninjured. Shaffer took off when the green flag fell for good, but many eyes were focused further back in the field.
Shane Stewart, who started 17th was making quick progress and was into the top ten by lap five. Kraig Kinser moved up from row five to take second from Lynton Jeffrey shortly thereafter. With ten laps down, Stewart was into sixth, and at the halfway point, Shaffer led Kinser, Jeffrey, Johnny Herrera and Holtgraver.
Stewart cracked the top five by lap fifteen, and the next circuit, he took fourth from Herrera. With seventeen laps in, Herrera went up in smoke while running fifth, and brought out the only caution of the night. It erased a 5.3 second lead for Shaffer, who now had Kinser, Jeffrey, Stewart and Jason Meyers, up from 14th, on his tail.
Stewart quickly disposed of Kinser and set his sights on the leader as the crowd moved to the edge of their seat. Shaffer was solid on the bottom and maintained his lead to take his fourth career win at Knoxville. He was paid $10,000. Stewart settled for second, followed by Kinser, Meyers and Sammy Swindell from 19th. Donny Schatz (from 21st), Jeffrey, Holtgraver, Greg Hodnett and Danny Lasoski rounded out the top ten.
“I figured someone was coming,” said Shaffer of Stewart. “At Knoxville, you never know. Someone is always coming. You run as hard as you can and do the best you can. Danny Holtgraver gave us a good starting spot and that helped us a lot. We’re pretty excited about this motor we have in now.”
The Premiere Chevy Dealers World Challenge topped off the card for the night. More carnage ensued when contact between Brooke Tatnell and Cody Darrah sent the latter upside down. Craig Dollansky and Sammy Swindell were collected in the incident, but both continued.
Lucas Wolfe shot out form his front row starting spot to lead the 20-lapper early on. Again all eyes were on the #57 of Shane Stewart who started 13th. By lap five, he was already into the top five, while Sammy Swindell recovered from the opening lap incident to climb to eighth by lap six.
At the halfway point, Wolfe’s lead was 4.2 seconds over Jason Sides, Stewart, Jeffrey and Ian Madsen. The lead trio remained the same with five to go. On lap 17, Jason Johnson took fourth from Jeffrey in a charge of his own. Stewart reeled in Sides in the non-stop event coming for the white flag and made the pass for second, but Wolfe was all alone to collect his first career Knoxville win worth $10,000.
“I had a good opportunity to start up front and have a clean racetrack ahead of me,” said Wolfe. “We were able to get by lapped cars well. The World Challenge has been good to me the last two years. We’ve had disappointing Nationals, but this event has given us a good week. I’d like to thank everyone that puts it on. I’m always happy to come out here. It’s a place we deserve to be at. I wish we had ten Outlaw races here.”
“Things worked well,” said the popular Stewart. “You can’t get greedy. This is a sport that will kick you in the teeth at any time. I won’t have any trouble sleeping tonight, that’s for sure. Every time I’ve hit the track the last ten days, it’s been incredible.”
“It hasn’t really happened for us,” said the third running Sides of his Nationals run. “We made a motor change tonight, and that gave us some speed. I think Shane is one to watch for tomorrow. He may have one for them.”
Johnson finished fourth ahead of Jeffrey. Sammy Swindell, Jason Meyers, Jonathan Allard, Ian Madsen and Brooke Tatnell rounded out the top ten.
Tomorrow a champion will be crowned at the 51st Annual Goodyear Knoxville Nationals! The winner will be paid $150,000 out of the $1,000,000 purse! Don’t miss it! Tickets are available at the box office, online at www.KnoxvilleRaceway.com or by calling 641 842-5431!
Semi-Feature one (started), 15 laps, NT: 1. 22, Kenny Jacobs, Holmesville, OH (3) 2. 11c, Roger Crockett, Medford, OR (1) 3. 5w, Lucas Wolfe, Mechanicsburg, PA (11) 4. 33, Danny Lasoski, Dover, MO (9) 5. 6H, Danny Heskin, St. Michael, MN (12) 6. 44w, Austen Wheatley, Lake Stevens, WA (14) 7. 20E, Brian Ellenberger, Butler, PA (2) 8. 1K, Chris Shirek, Thompson, ND (18) 9. 69, Mike Moore, Des Moines, IA (7) 10. 17x, Marty Perovich, Denham Court, NSW, Aust. (17) 11. 4x, Toni Lutar, White Rock, BC, Can. (8) 12. 10P, Ricky Logan, Little Rock, AR (5) / 13. 9N, Wade Nygaard, Grand Forks, ND (13) 14. 45, Mark Johnson, Des Moines, IA (16) 15. 91x, Dusty Zomer, Sioux Falls, SD (10) 16. 7AB, Billy Alley, Bennet, NE (4) 17. 96AU, Bruce White, Merrylands West, NSW, Aust. (15) 18. 68, Mike Houseman Jr., Des Moines, IA (6) 19. DNS – Bob Weuve, Robby Wolfgang
Semi-Feature two (started), 15 laps, 4:11.4: 1. 1s, Kevin Swindell, Charlotte, NC (1) 2. 63, Chad Kemenah, Findlay, OH (2) 3. 0, Jonathan Allard, Chico, CA (4) 4. 6M, Jac Haudenschild, Wooster, OH (3) 5. 2L, Ed Lynch Jr., Apollo, PA (8) 6. 7s, Jason Sides, Bartlett, TN (6) 7. D4, Danny Holtgraver, Pittsburgh, PA (12) 8. 23w, Scott Winters, Butterfield, MN (11) 9. 02, Mike Reinke, Howards Grove, WI (7) 10. 23, Seth Bergman, Snohomish, WA (5) 11. 21M, Brian Montieth, Phoenixville, PA (15) 12. 19K, Todd King, Sheboygan Falls, WI (9) / 13. 6R, Bill Rose, Plainfield, IN (13) 14. 04, Cap Henry, Bellevue, OH (10) 15. 8, Kaley Gharst, Decatur, IL (17) 16. 19D, Donovan Peterson, Brookings, SD (18) 17. 20PK, Ron Krysl, Atkinson, NE (16) 18. 7TAZ, Tasker Phillips, Pleasantville, IA (19) 19. 2K, Kevin Ingle, Huron, SD (14) 20. 23x, Russel Borland, Kewaskum, WI (20)
A main (started), 20 laps, 5:44.3: 1. Kevin Swindell (2) 2. Lucas Wolfe (5) 3. Kenny Jacobs (1) 4. Jac Haudenschild (8) 5. Chad Kemenah (4) 6. Jonathan Allard (6) 7. Brian Ellenberger (13) 8. Roger Crockett (3) 9. Danny Heskin (9) 10. Scott Winters (16) 11. Jason Sides (12) 12. Ed Lynch Jr. (10) 13. Danny Holtgraver (14) 14. Toni Lutar (21) 15. Mike Reinke (18) 16. Austen Wheatley (11) 17. Mike Moore (17) 18. Chris Shirek (15) 19. Todd King (24) 20. Brian Montieth (22) 21. Marty Perovich (19) 22. Danny Lasoski (7) 23. Ricky Logan (23) 24. Seth Bergman (20). Lap Leaders: Jacobs 1-4, K. Swindell 5-22.
Q20 Race of Champions, 25 laps, NT: 1. 83x, Tim Shaffer, Aliquippa, PA (1) 2. 57, Shane Stewart, Bixby, OK (17) 3. 6, Kraig Kinser, Bloomington, IN (9) 4. 14, Jason Meyers, Clovis, CA (14) 5. 1, Sammy Swindell, Germantown, TN (19) 6. 15, Donny Schatz, Fargo, ND (21) 7. 12, Lynton Jeffrey, Prairie City, IA (3) 8. D4, Danny Holtgraver, Pittsburgh, PA (7) 9. 39, Greg Hodnett, Thomasville, PA (10) 10. Danny Lasoski (15) 11. 11, Steve Kinser, Bloomington, IN (16) 12. 55, Terry McCarl, Altoona, IA (20) 13. Chris Shirek (2) 14. 17B, Bill Balog, Eau Claire, WI (13) 15. 45x, Johnny Herrera, Albuquerque, NM (4) 16. 21, Brian Brown, Grain Valley, MO (18) 17. Wade Nygaard (11) 18. Jonathan Allard (6) 19. Brian Montieth (5) 20. Billy Alley (8) 21. 92, Kerry Madsen, St. Marys, NSW, Aust. (12). Lap Leader: Shaffer 1-25.
Premiere Chevy Dealers World Challenge, 20 laps, 5:55.5: 1. Lucas Wolfe (2) 2. Stewart (13) 3. Jason Sides (4) 4. 41, Jason Johnson, Eunice, LA (11) 5. Lynton Jeffrey (9) 6. Sammy Swindell (16) 7. Jason Meyers (15) 8. Jonathan Allard (6) 9. 28, Ian Madsen, St. Marys, NSW, Aust. (7) 10. 59, Brooke Tatnell, Sans Souci, NSW, Aust. (10) 11. Toni Lutar (3) 12. Marty Perovich (17) 13. Bruce White (1) 14. Ricky Logan (5) 15. 7, Craig Dollansky, Elk River, MN (12) 16. 91, Cody Darrah, Red Lion, PA (8) DNS – Kerry Madsen. Lap Leader: Wolfe 1-20.